Portfolio’s Felix Salmon blogs about CNBC’s recent PZE “obsession”…
CNBC has, over the past couple of weeks, suddenly discovered an obscure Argentine energy stock called Petrobras Energia. On December 28, it ran an interview with fund manager Ken Heebner, who said that he really liked energy stocks in general, and Petrobras in particular. Except that the chart that CNBC ran to accompany the interview showed not Petrobras shares, which trade under the ticker symbol PBR, but rather those of its Argentine subsidiary, Petrobras Energia, which trades under the ticker symbol PZE.
That day, volume in PZE, which is normally around 360,000 shares, spiked tenfold to 3.6 million. Quite impressive for the quiet week between Christmas and New Year.
CNBC did acknowledge the error, but apparently it now had PZE on the brain, because the Argentine company was then featured on Jim Cramer’s show on Monday, where the madman said that it was an “underexposed Latin American energy stock that could be poised for big gains”. Apparently he was believing his own hype: three days previously, in a call-in segment, he’d told a caller that PZE was a great way of playing Brazil, despite the fact that PZE has a separate listing largely because it’s not a Brazil play. “You should buy this stock. I got to tell you, I like Brazil so much,” he said.